Top 5 Best and Worst Home Improvements to Make in NY

If you’re like most people, a lot of the work you do on your home is meant for you to enjoy--at least for a little while.

But you also want to make sure you get some of that money back when it’s time to sell or refinance. So which improvements are also smart investments in New York?

Stay away from...

Home offices: Having your own kid/pet/clutter-free space to telecommute from seems like a no-brainer, right? But what happens when your potential buyers both work outside the home and your office oasis means their kids will have to share a room (and probably end up killing each other in the process)? Suddenly you’re wishing you’d just set up a desk in your guest room and called it a day. On average, you’re only going to get 48 percent back on your investment.

Sunrooms: They’re hard to heat and cool, require additional wiring, and aren’t very versatile. If you’re thinking sunrooms, try focusing on a deck instead. You’ll get a lot of the same benefits without the hassle. If you can’t live without the sunroom, you can expect to only get about a 51 percent return.

Master suite additions: Your master suite might be your oasis. Walk-in closets, dressing areas, whirlpool tubs with a separate shower. But a potential buyer might not expect to spend quite as much time there. To them, it’s not worth the $100,000 investment it took to make. You’ll only recoup 67 percent of that cost.

Bathroom additions: There’s a lot that goes into adding a bathroom. Not only do you have to add plumbing, wiring, and heating and cooling, you also have to buy all the bathroom fixtures. At the end of the day, you’re only going to get back about 60 percent of your investment.

Two Story addition: That extra space seems pretty appealing, and building up instead of out is a good choice if you don’t have a lot of room. But unless you really need it, stay away from it. You’ll only get a 54 percent return, 10 percent less than the national average.

Consider adding...

A steel front door: This upgrade probably isn’t at the top of your list. But nationwide, it has one of the best returns your investment. Why? A steel door is more energy efficient and a whole heck of a lot harder to break down than a wood door. The average for returns on this investment is 93 percent, slightly lower than the 96 percent national average.

Manufactured Stone Veneer: It looks great and it’ll get you a pretty high return for the region, 78 percent.

A new garage door: The main reason this upgrade is on the list is cosmetic. A garage door takes up a huge amount of space on the front of the house. So having an up-to-date, door in good condition makes an immediate impression. Not to mention you’ll get an 84 percent return you get an appraisal. That’s about par with the national average of 83 percent.

A wood deck: Nothing says summer like backyard barbeques, afternoon cocktails, and relaxing on your favorite chaise lounge. A deck can seem like an additional (and indispensable) room in your house. So it’s no brainer that this addition gives homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic an 84 percent (versus 87 percent nationally) return on their investment.

An attic bedroom: Not only are you adding livable space to your house, but an attic bedroom will also offer guests (or moody teenagers) more privacy than a room on the main floor. Your guests will be happy and so will you with a 76 percent return. Sure, it’s a little lower than the 84 percent national average, but it’s still in the top five for the area. This one’s expensive, so you might want to think about a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to help pay for it.  

Make sure your improvements make sense in your neighborhood. If all the other houses in your neighborhood are small, ranch-style homes, does your three-story behemoth really fit in?